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Can I open bank account?

Opening up a bank account is important! For establishing good credit, renting or purchasing a home, and keeping your savings safe, using a bank account is the way to go. But if you are undocumented, opening up a personal bank account can feel intimidating or impossible.

Don’t worry! It’s possible-and easy-to open up an account without citizenship or a social security number.

What do you need to open up a bank account?  The USA Patriot Act says that all Banks, Credit Unions, and Savings Associations (and some non-federally regulated banks) must have specific steps for checking the id of anyone who wants to open up an account. The requirements are different at each bank, but most banks want proof of:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Residential or business street address within the United States
  • Identification number

Providing each of these items is simple even if you are undocumented!

So what documents do I need?  Here are some examples of things you can use for each ID requirement. You need 1 thing from each category:

Name:

  • unexpired passport
  • birth certificate
  • consular ID card
  • government issued driver’s license

Date of Birth:

  • unexpired passport
  • birth certificate
  • consular ID card
  • government issued driver’s license

Street address:

    • utility bill

Army/Fleet Post Office box number

Identification number:

  • Social Security number
  • ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)
  • employer ID

If you do not have a Social Security Number you might be able to apply for an ITIN!

What is an ITIN and how do I get one?  ITINs are “individual taxpayer identification numbers.” The IRS gives ITINs to people who need a taxpayer number but don’t have a Social Security Number. ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status! To get an ITIN, fill out this application. On the IRS webpage, you can find out more about the requirements and how to apply. If you meet the requirements for an ITIN, you should get it from the IRS within six weeks.

For more information about ITINs, read the IRS’ FAQ page. For questions about requesting an ITIN you should talk to a tax professional. If you don’t have one already, call Catholic Charities for tax help! 9am-5pm weekdays at (503) 669-8350.

How do I know if a bank will use my ITIN?  To make sure that your local bank will open up a personal account for you with an ITIN, call them. They can help you make sure you have everything you need before you go!

These banks accept ITINs at all branches:

  • Capital One (no locations in Portland available, but check out online banking)

These Credit Unions accept ITINs at all branches:

  • Trailhead Credit Union
  • Advantis Credit Union
  • Unitus Credit Union
  • Oregonians Credit Union

Want to spread the word? Click here for a downloadable flyer to print and distribute.